A high-stakes weekend of critical races is approaching for Santa Anita Park — the racetrack where 23 horses have died because of December, rocking the industry.
On Saturday, the track will host the Santa Anita Derby, a $one million West Coast steppingstone to qualify for the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
There are 36 runs scheduled among Thursday afternoon and Sunday. Eight races have been run Thursday.
Over 39,000 spectators attended the primary event in 2018 and watched native land favoured Justify win the race on his way to turning into a Triple Crown winner.
But this year’s Santa Anita Derby comes at the heels of a 24-day suspension of racing at the facility, following the deaths of 22 horses. A 23rd horse, the 5-12 months-antique colt Arms Runner, changed into euthanised on Sunday — just days after the music reopened — after he fell and collided with some other horse throughout the San Simeon Stakes.
Neither the California Horse Racing Board nor the Stronach Group would touch upon a contingency plan for Saturday, have to a fatal coincidence occur within the two days leading as much as the crown jewel.
The park says no horses have been withdrawn from the Santa Anita Derby due to worries over issues over the present day deaths.
As early morning education sessions preserve this week, the mood at Santa Anita can be described as carefully constructive.
Hall of Fame teacher Bob Baffert — whose strong roster of trainees includes current Triple Crown winners Justify and American Pharoah — plans to race two up-and-coming horses this weekend. His undefeated three-12 months-old colt, Game Winner, will cross head-to-head towards a number of the fastest horses across the united states.
“Luckily, I haven’t had any troubles,” Baffert informed newshounds in the course of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s media teleconference on Tuesday. “If I concept there has been a hazard out there, I wouldn’t even depart my horses obtainable. I’m feeling suitable about what is occurring here. However, I don’t want to jinx myself.”
Unusually Handsome. Bob’s Sniper. General Mo. The thoroughbred racehorses are among an area of 10 contenders who will run the primary race Thursday afternoon.
Their experience is unusually short — directly over three/4 of a mile.
But all eyes could be down the stretch, to watch for each horse to safely step over the finish line.
The deaths of almost a dozen horses on the park gave that December was baffling. Many humans related to the park believe that rain has been a factor inside the horses’ deaths, however now not all agree why. Southern California merely has had its wettest winter in nearly a decade.
Over the closing 17 days, horse trainers and handlers have reformed practices to include new safety protocols mandated using the CHRB — the kingdom’s unbiased company which offers licenses, promotes race protection, and regulates betting.
The CHRB voted unanimously to prohibit jockeys from the use of whips to encourage their horses to move ahead, except the protection of the rider or horse are compromised. Improper use could bring about fines, suspension or forfeiture from purse winnings.
The board has additionally voted to phase out the management of equal-day medications. Veterinarians and trainers might be required to provide enough time for steroidal and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to clear a horse’s system before race day. Both kinds of remedy can regularly mask the real volume of an animal’s injuries.
The modifications went into effect while Santa Anita Park re-opened on March 29.
“We’re returned to regular. However there’s a lot of tension and apprehension — no question,” stated Santa Anita Park spokesperson Mike Willman.
“(The new processes) have laboured very, very well,” Willman said. “I assume every body’s embraced them. We understand how important it’s far to be as proactive as we can likely be.”
After Arms Runner’s loss of life on Sunday, the park said the tune changed into safe.
“While this incident befell at some stage in competition on a track that has been deemed with the aid of unbiased experts to be secure, we are running closely with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to recognize if there was something additional that we could have finished saving your latest tragedy,” the park said in a assertion.
“Today’s incident speaks to the bigger trouble of catastrophic injuries in horse racing that The Stronach Group together with our industry stakeholders is running to solve at some point of California and across the usa,” it stated.